Sandy Alderson, New York Mets
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The New York Mets discussions with free-agent catcher James McCann are intensifying. Would he be the next Wilson Ramos?

Robert Murray of FanSided is reporting that the New York Mets are in active discussions with free-agent catcher James McCann.

While a deal is not close yet, it’s worth noting that this is not the first time the Mets have been connected to McCann. Andy Martino of SNY also reported that the Mets are targeting McCann over star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

McCann is widely considered the second-best catcher on the free-agent market. After a slow start to his career, McCann has found himself in Chicago. Over the past two seasons, McCann is third in MLB among catcher in wRC+ and fifth in fWAR.

The issue is that this is a massive breakout for McCann. From 2014-2018 McCann hit .240/.288/.366. Over the last two seasons, he’s hit .276/.334/.474. The team that signs McCann is going to be betting on the sustainability of that offensive breakout.

It’ll have to be because McCann is one of the worst defensive catchers in MLB. McCann was worth -7.6 fielding runs above average in 2019, that’s 101st in MLB. Wilson Ramos was 102nd in MLB. Even more damning is his -8 framing runs saved, 104th in MLB. That’s worse than Wilson Ramos who was worth -4.7 framing runs saved, 97th in MLB.

So, if McCann stops hitting, he becomes a negative player — just like Ramos did. McCann is one of the riskiest free agents available on the market.

This move reeks of “same old Mets.” Adding another poor fielder to the worst defense in MLB is a risky play. Even if McCann proves to be a slight improvement over Ramos defensively, it won’t be enough to make a sizeable difference.

This move would sting, especially since Sandy Alderson made it a point to say the defense was a major issue. It’s one thing to acknowledge the issue, it’s another to address it.

If the Mets sign James McCann this offseason, they could be locking themselves into the exact same situation they just escaped from.

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